(LOS ANGELES) — An Army soldier from San Bernardino, Calif., who survived a suicide bombing in Afghanistan, was shot at his homecoming party Friday night, leaving him paralyzed, authorities said.
Christopher Sullivan, 22, of the 101st Infantry Division, was at a party held in his honor when one of the attendees got into a fight with his brother.
“Supposedly started over just a minor argument over whose football team was better,” said San Bernardino Police Lt. Rich Lawhead.
Lawhead said Sullivan moved in to break up the fight, someone pulled out a handgun, and two bullets hit Sullivan in the back and neck.
Police said the gunman fled the scene on foot before they arrived. He is still at large.
Sullivan was taken to a hospital and listed in critical condition awaiting surgery.
“They said he was going to be a paraplegic, he will never walk again,” Sullivan’s mother Suzanne told ABC News Los Angeles station KABC.
This Christmas, his family is praying for his survival and recovery.
“They’re very distraught, very upset and you know, this is the time of year, any time of year is difficult, but this heightens it even more,” said Lawhead.
While on tour in Afghanistan, Sullivan received a purple heart after being wounded in a suicide bomb attack last December, his mother said.
Five of his friends were killed in the attack.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Nicole Chavez, CNN
Kevin Liptak and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Selena Larson, CNN
Heather Kelly, CNN